Taxpayers generally like to see that their hard-earned money is being put to constructive use. So they would not be happy to know that the Department of Water Affairs, according to media reports, has been paying a suspended senior official handsomely for sitting at home – for two years.

What’s more, the salary in question amounts to R3-million. The department’s former director-general, Maxwell Sirenya, was suspended in early 2013 when he found himself in the middle of a dispute between then-minister Edna Molewa and the former public administration minister Lindiwe Sisulu, over an IT tender worth almost half a billion rands.

For IT services, government departments are required to use the State Information Technology Agency, but, according to the reports, the delays on the agency’s part caused Molewa to lose patience and award the tender to Business Connexion instead.

Sisulu questioned whether Molewa was right in invoking the law to award the tender to Business Connexion, and when Sirenya refused to sign off on the tender, Molewa suspended him.

An investigation has been under way and a spokesperson for current water affairs minister Nomvula Mokonyane did reveal that it was close to being resolved. Mokonyane is expected to revoke Sirenya’s suspension.

For dragging its heels in reaching a resolution and in the process costing the taxpayer a large amount of money, the Department of Water Affairs is our zero of the week.

The Department of Water Affairs is our zero for the week for the debacle involving its former director-general Maxwell Sirenya, who has been suspended for two years but has still been drawing a salary of R3-million, according to media reports.
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